Dancing is more than just intense; it’s also an energetic workout. Every time you shake your tail feathers on a dance floor, waltz around a ballroom or move to the groove in your living room, you elevate your heart rate, burn calories and increase your body’s ability to shed extra pounds. And when you combine them with a healthy diet, the right dancing styles can help you strengthen the muscles of your midsection and add shape to your waist.
When you move your body to the rhythm of the music -- whether you’re on beat or not -- you elevate your heart rate and increase your calorie burn. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound woman can burn between 112 and 223 calories in 30 minutes of dancing depending on the style. You can even burn the same number of calories twist dancing as you would in downhill skiing or cross-country hiking. This means that you can whittle your middle simply by using dancing as a form of cardio exercise that helps you shed pounds from head to toe. Because it takes 3,500 calories to drop 1 pound, eat a healthy diet so that you won’t waste your cardio effort.
Abs and Core
Spot-reduction is a myth, as you can't lose weight and inches from one single part of your body. But you can certainly strengthen specific body parts, including your abs, as you engage in challenging dance moves that work your core. Some of the best dances for your abs include salsa, hip-hop and belly dancing as well as old-school twisting. These styles incorporate moves that force you to engage your abs and entire core and can whip your muscles into shape. As you drop pounds by dancing and eating right, you'll reveal tight abs as your fat disappears.
If you like to hit the town, dancing yourself into a stronger midsection will be easy. Any time you engage in dancing moves that twist and bend at the waist, you’re challenging your muscles and making them stronger. If you go to a hip-hop club, move your hips and glutes in wider motions and always keep your abs contracted. While you're salsa dancing, let yourself get into the movements with greater freedom while maintaining good posture and a tight core. The same goes for any dancing style. Make big motions and keep your abs contracted to treat yourself to a fantastic workout during your night out.
Gym and Home
Participate in dance-inspired workout routines in classes at your gym or via a DVD at home. Most gyms offer Zumba classes that let you dance under the instruction of a teacher who can help you get a total-body workout. For home DVDs, you can find workouts based on just about any style of dance. Certain routines even target your midsection specifically and can help you focus on trimming your waistline. If you want to try a dance workout before you buy it, see if you can check it out at your local library or borrow it from a friend.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.